Tuesday, March 03, 2009

An Essential Introduction to the Integral Approach (AQAL)

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Integral Life posted this multi-part introduction to the integral model. I'll be adding this to the sidebar as I update the blog in the coming weeks. It's good to have a concise introduction in one place here for readers who are not familiar with it - if you are and have moved on, please skip this post.

Just follow the links to see each video/audio presentation.

An Essential Introduction to the Integral Approach

Do you need a map to guide you through the territory of your own life? The following series of e-learning programs will give you an experience of the components of the Integral approach—quadrants, levels, lines, states and types—which will help you to see and work with more of yourself, others and the world you live in. If you’re new to Integral, this series will help you to get familiar with some terms used on Integral Life and will help you understand how you can benefit from adopting a more Integral approach to the various aspects of your life. If you’re an experienced watcher, this series will help deepen your understanding of the fundamental components and will give you a sense of the learning platforms we’ll be using on the website. Whatever your level of experience, sit back, relax, and enjoy whatever arises as you witness new ways for understanding your life!

What is the Integral Map?

The Integral Map is nothing less than a map of the human experience - a composite framework that honors the key insights of the world's greatest traditions and distills them into five simple factors, five keys to unlock and facilitate your growth and development. Sound too daunting and complex? Well, that's the thing. Life is complex enough as it is, so we’re sharing this map with you as a means to help you find your way. And what you’ll find, with just a little perseverance and a willingness to learn and "not know," is greater understanding and love for yourself, others and the world you live in. Watch this introductory e-learning program to begin the journey and find out how to better navigate your life.

What are the Quadrants?

Take a moment and feel into the experience of life. In every moment, you have awareness of yourself from the inside, what you’re feeling and thinking, and you also have an experience of what it is that you’re doing—you’re reading the words on this computer screen with your eyes and the various parts of your brain that give you this ability. You are also never outside some kind of system, whether urban or a national park. For example, right now you’re sitting in a room, in your part of the world, at a particular time. You are also enculturated, which means you make meaning based on your upbringing, your culture, and your relationships. This short tour you just took highlights a few of the many perspectives or points of view that are available to us at all times. We call these dimensions the four quadrants, because everything can be looked at from one of these four perspectives, but also, cannot be reduced to just one, because they all intimately influence and shape the others. This e-learning program will help you to identify all the parts of your world that are operating in your experience, to see if you are covering and attending to all “the bases” of your life, and it will bring you one step closer to realizing greater understanding, the ability to make more informed choices, and to feel life on a deeper level.

What are Levels and Lines?

Have you ever noticed how some people are really good at some things and not so good at others? We can look across many aspects of our life, or at different lines of development, such as our morals, aesthetics, musical talent, and interpersonal relationships, just to name a few, and see a complex picture of ourselves. As we develop through our life, we pass through different milestones or levels of development on each of the many lines, retaining all that we learned previously and adding new understanding as we progress. For example, we are all born without language—as toddlers we begin with a few words and continually, throughout our life, we add on new words, concepts, and structures that expand our knowledge and ability to communicate. The great thing about levels is that they are a permanent acquisition, so language isn’t just present one day and then gone the next. In the following e-learning program, you'll gain a broader understanding about the movement through levels of development, across numerous lines. That way you'll understand more about yourself and others around you.

What are States?

How do you feel right now? Peaceful, confused, tired, excited—or some other state of mind? Unlike the other components of the Integral map, states come and go. Each evening we move through the natural states of consciousness from a wakened state, into the dream state, and then into a deep, dreamless sleep state. When we’re awake, we can experience an almost infinite number of fleeting states, from the seemingly ordinary, to meditative states, to altered states and peak experiences. As you watch this e-learning program, we'll take you on a journey through the many states of consciousness that you experience—how they color your experience, how we favor some over others, how they can help us to grow, and how very transient and important they are to the human experience.

What are Types?

Why do people approach the same aspects of life in such different ways? Because we all view life through our own lens, our own way of seeing and doing things, our "personality"—or, what we at Integral Life refer to as our type. There are many different type systems, from the masculine and/or feminine essences we all possess, to the Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, or astrological types, and many more. In the following e-learning program, you will learn about types—how types, particularly masculine and feminine, show up in the world, how each has a healthy and unhealthy manifestation, and perhaps how to appreciate all the different types and the ways we all relate to the world in our own unique ways.

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